“What? This cannot be. Diego? Diego!! Why was I not told of this?”

“Told of what, Fidel?”

“That Napster has done a deal with that German bastion of capitalism, Bertelsmann, owner of BMG Records.”

“I did not know you cared so…”

“What? How could you not know, Diego? Napster is the only reason I have a cable modem.”

“Cable, Fidel? I thought you had DSL.”

“I did, but the geeks from Havana Bell could never get it to run properly. All they see are ceros and unos and care not for the ability to download MP3s by Sammy Hagar and Thin Lizzy. So I threw them in prison and called AT&T Broadband. And now my beloved Napster has entered into an agreement with El Diablo, himself. What is the world coming to, Diego?”

“I do not know, Fidel.”

“And I had such high hopes for the Redwood City wonder. Imagine, Diego, a college drop-out creates a magnificent song-sharing program. With the ability to trade songs by Slash’s Snakepit and MxPx, no longer must the people bow down before their record company masters. And to think I considered Señor Fanning a fellow revolutionary.

“But there are other programs, Fidel. Like Gnutella or Scour.”

“But Gnutella is too difficult to use to download the collected works of The Wallflowers and Scour has succumbed to the slings, arrows and lawsuits of the corporate elite. At least they knew when to throw in the towel, unlike that fool Milosevic. No, Diego, Only Napster offers the ease of use, wrapped up in an elegant interface.”

“What shall we do, Fidel?”

“What a man must do, my friend. We’ll take up the fight. We’ll build our own Napster right here in our beloved Cuba. Diego, release the Havana Bell techs from prison and tell them I want a Napster worthy of the music revolution. We will lead the charge! We will give them free MP3s of Union Underground and Tom Tom Club. We will unshackle the people from the record labels’ chains of oppression!”

“But, Fidel…”

“What is it now, Diego?

“What about the Recording Industry Association of America?”

“The RIAA? Señora Hilary Rosen, the Xena Warrior Princess of Washington, DC? What about her?”

“She’s sure to sue us, Fidel. You saw what she did to MP3.com.”

“But we are strong. We are brave. We are Cubans! And we shall stand toe-to-toe with Señora Rosen. We.. we…. MP3.com, you say?”

“Yes, Fidel. Surely you remember.”

“Ah, yes. I hadn’t seen such carnage since Papa Hemmingway came down here to hunt sharks with his machine gun. Hmmm… Diego? “

“Yes, Fidel? Shall I release the geeks?”

“Perhaps this calls for more thought. We must consider all of our options. Just like The Offspring did with Sony.”

“Of course, Fidel.”

“And, Diego?”

“Yes, Fidel?”

“In the meantime, prepare a check for $4.95 in U.S. dollars and make it out to Napster. Even your benevolent dictator must plan for all eventualities.”

“As you wish, Fidel.”